God in America
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"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is, than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." -Carl Sagan

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Well, there is no anthropomorphic God that watches over us and cares for us. Instead I choose to view the Universe, as a whole, as a god of sorts. Huge, overwhelming and awe-inspiring. The more questions we answer, the more questions emerge. It seems to be a never ending cycle. 2 people liked this

My Beliefs

My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator coming to understand that "no gods" is tantamount to "no masters". We are all the masters of our own destiny. Human-kind is responsible for all of its greatest achievements, as well as its greatest failings. It is this double edged sword that demonstrates the liberation of giving up on childish notions of believing in supernatural beings meddling in our affairs. 2 people liked this
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Watching my sisters and my terminally ill mother, crying and praying that the cancer would just vanish. My mother cried and begged, "Is this the vision that you saw? The vision of when I am healed?" My sister lied and told her, "Yes, it is", even though all the people that my sister had previously said were in her vision were not there. I could only watch in horror and disbelief at the human tragedy unfolding before me. My mother died a few months later. 2 people liked this
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My beliefs center around secular humanism, so my spiritual life involves thinking about solutions for the suffering in the world and donating to the correct charities to affect that change. 3 people liked this
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Is that atheism requires faith. Atheism never purports that there is no god anywhere in the universe, only that your faith has no evidence to support it and therefore has no credibility. Science is the only method of understanding the universe that has any credibility at all. We have to analyze and understand the universe logically in order to find real solution to our very real problems. 3 people liked this
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Richard Dawkins. That man does not tolerate any nonsense and will just call you out. Making a claim that you know the answers to the deep questions of the universe demands evidences and theists frankly have no evidence at all that their creation myths are true. Science, on the other hand, has libraries full of facts and data that support its scientific theories (1) of the origins of the universe. (1)A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. A theory is valid as long as there is no evidence to dispute it. Therefore, theories can be disproven. Basically, if evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, then the hypothesis can become accepted as a good explanation of a phenomenon. One definition of a theory is to say it's an accepted hypothesis. (http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistry101/a/lawtheory.htm) 3 people liked this
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Is that the universe is fully understandable when viewed through the lens of science and reason. There are no priests, no infallible higher authority. All you need is factual observations and reproducible experimental data to understand everything. 2 people liked this

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator in the standard judeo-christian trinity god creation myth. 1 person liked this
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator one of rejecting ignorance and superstition and embracing logic, reason and science. 3 people liked this
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator a lackadaisical southern christian. We did not attend church often or pray, but reported to have strong spiritual beliefs. Likely this was just an innate behavior to fit in with our peers. 1 person liked this
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. I have completely rejected the beliefs of my parents as ridiculous, childish white lies designed to deceive the mind and give a false sense of security. 2 people liked this
If you have children, did becoming a parent change your relationship to faith? If so, how? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I have chosen not to procreate at this time. 1 person liked this

How I Practice My Faith

Where and when do you practice your faith? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I practice my faith all day, everyday, by viewing the world in a logical and rational way. 2 people liked this
Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My family is uniformly judeo-christian. I hold my tongue during blessings at meals and around my nieces and nephews, but otherwise am quite confrontational about my lack of religious faith. 2 people liked this
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator From a logical perspective, atheism is the easiest thing in the world to live with because all of the evidence points there, but from a social perspective it is quite difficult, because atheist are one of the most vilified subcultures in the world today. 2 people liked this
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator my internet connection. This connection represents a portal into a place where facts and knowledge are available at the click of the mouse. It is also a forum of free expression where I can combat the brainwashing of the "religious right". 2 people liked this
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator "Pale Blue Dot" by Carl Sagan. This book does a wonderful job of explaining just how small and insignificant we are, here on earth, and why it is so important that we spread out and explore the universe as a beacon of logic and reason in a cold, dark universe and seek out and understand any other creatures that we encounter in the universe. 2 people liked this

Religion & the Public Square

What should be the role of religion in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator There should be zero religion in politics. All government and law should be secular and rooted in well documented science and fact. 3 people liked this
Should courses about religion be taught in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Only as works of historical fiction and as ways to understand the past and other cultures. 3 people liked this
Should the Bible, Torah, Quran or other religious texts be taught as works of literature in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Only as works of historical fiction and as ways to understand the past and other cultures. 3 people liked this
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator No, only scientific secular humanist dialog is going to solve the very real problems that we are facing. 2 people liked this
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, completely, because the facts are on the side of science and reason. 3 people liked this
Do you feel that you have a duty, because of your faith, to put your beliefs into action? What are some of those actions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, very much so. I have to promote factual science education and the understanding of the theories of Evolution by Natural Selection and Natural Abiogenisis. 1 person liked this
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Religious beliefs are compromised by the fact that they are outdated myths and lies designed to control the behavior of the human population. 3 people liked this
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, I saw how religious fundamentalism makes people do violent and horrible things. I also saw how quickly the adherents of one religion will polarize against and hate other religious adherents. We have to outgrow these childish notions that goat herders, 3000 years ago, knew anything about the universe. Wake up people!! 3 people liked this

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Major funding for God in America provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John E. Fetzer Institute, Inc.  Additional funding provided by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. God in America is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.
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Published October 11, 2010

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